On August 17th 2022 our new PhD student Amy Ma visited QUT's campus to meet the extended Centre team and get introduced to the broader research programs.

Amy will conduct her PhD within the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Queensland with Prof Paul Hodges. Her research is focused on using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and Electromyography data, to explore the central mechanisms of neuromuscular control in patients with healthy and pathological shoulders.

The shoulder complex is highly mobile which is capable of movements in multiple directions and planes. While it being highly functional, the shoulder complex relies on sophisticated coordination between multiple shoulder muscles for control and stability. It has been proposed that aberrant muscle coordination may be one of the mechanisms for injury or sustained dysfunction. Central Nervous System (CNS) including the corresponding brain areas and neural pathways responsible for muscle contraction is of crucial importance.

However there is yet a consensus on how muscle control is altered in people with shoulder pain or pathologies. This is partly due to a limited understanding on the underlying mechanism involving the CNS in both healthy and symptomatic population. She hypothesises that 1) there is a pattern of muscle coordination and CNS features that is task specific in the healthy population, and 2) this pattern is altered/absent in people with shoulder pain or pathology.

The project will help both researchers and clinicians understand how and why neuromuscular control is impaired after onset of pathology or pain, which may shed light on shoulder rehabilitation and potentially diagnosis.

A big welcome from our Program 4 team Prof Graham Kerr & Dr Wolbert van den Hoorn and the whole Centre.